Sauna and the heart
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Going to the sauna 2 to 3 times a week reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases by more than 20% when compared to people who use the sauna once a week. The more frequently you use the sauna, the more you can reduce the risk, even up to 65%.
Those who use the sauna 4 to 7 times a week are over 60% less at risk of dementia
In one of the few studies on the connection between sauna use and sleep, it was discovered that deep sleep increased by over 70% within the first two hours and by 45% within the first six hours. There was a statistically significant decrease in the amount of time spent awake after sauna use.
The best health effects can be attained by using the sauna 4 to 7 times a week at a temperature of approximately 80 °C, for approximately 20 minutes at a time.
Sauna hearts you
If you love going to the sauna, so does your heart. Going to the sauna 2 to 3 times a week reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases by more than 20% when compared to people who use the sauna once a week. The more frequently you use the sauna, the more you can reduce the risk, even up to 65%.
We have yet to find out the mechanism through which frequent sauna use exactly protects the heart. Heart rate and blood pressure change during sauna use in a manner comparable to physical activity, as the changes in the body are of a similar type. Sauna use can, at least, lower blood pressure and maintain the flexibility of blood vessels. Source
Enjoy the steam and heat of your dreams
Why do so many people say that you sleep more deeply after going to the sauna? In one of the few studies on the connection between sauna use and sleep, it was discovered that deep sleep increased by over 70% within the first two hours and by 45% within the first six hours. There was a statistically significant decrease in the amount of time spent awake after sauna use.
Researchers suppose that the process of the body warming up, and then cooling down affects our hormone activity so that we become sleepy approximately a few hours after going to the sauna.
Do you have sauna in the veins?
Heat affects the body in the same way exercise does: it makes the heart pump more blood. When the surface blood vessels simultaneously expand, the heart’s job actually becomes easier. At the same time, the warming of the tissues releases substances which the arteries and blood vessels of the heart need to function properly.
The heat therapy enabled by the sauna may therefore provide everyone with the benefits of exercise – even persons for whom exercise is difficult or impossible for some reason. Source
Reduce the risk of memory disorder
Did you know that dementia can be slowed down and even prevented? Going to the sauna twice a week is already enough to reduce the risk of dementia by one fifth compared to those who only use the sauna once a week. Those who use the sauna 4 to 7 times a week are over 60% less at risk of dementia.
These interesting observations pertain to the Finnish sauna specifically. The best health effects can be attained by using the sauna 4 to 7 times a week at a temperature of approximately 80 °C, for approximately 20 minutes at a time. Source
Nourish your skin in steam
Do you think that frequent sauna use will dry your skin? In truth, it is quite the opposite. Skin metabolism improves when the heat in the sauna multiplies the amount of blood passing through the surface blood vessels. The skin is nourished, retaining moisture more effectively and therefore staying more elastic.
Many people like to go to the sauna daily or almost daily in the summer. This may be a contributing factor for why the skin does not dry as much in the summer as it does in the winter, even for people with dry skin. Frequent sauna use is beneficial for people suffering from psoriasis and many other skin diseases, such as seborrheic dermatitis and an infected eczema. Source
Loosen up your muscles in the heat
The sauna is a good place to relax strained muscles after a run or going to the gym. But going to the sauna BEFORE you exercise may be an even better method. According to studies, sauna use before strenuous exercise prevents the muscles from becoming sore and increases muscle mobility after the workout.
You should also use the time spent in the sauna to stretch and maintain your joints’ ranges of motion. Source
Answers to overall sauna and health questions
Have the health effect of sauna use been studied scientifically?
Individual studies have been conducted in Finland and elsewhere in the world, in which the test group has typically consisted of a few dozen people. A study published by the University of Eastern Finland, which found sauna use to be beneficial to the circulatory system and the memory, involved over 2,000 Finnish men and lasted for over 20 years.
Is sauna use always good for you?
Many experts say that if you are able to walk into a sauna by yourself, it is safe for you to use the sauna. However, always keep moderation and good sauna habits in mind. If you do not feel normal or if you have been diagnosed with heart problems, you should first consult your doctor about using the sauna. In general, it can be said that if going to the sauna feels good, then it is good for you. This rule does not apply to joint pains related to rheumatism, as they are often alleviated in the sauna but may come back stronger the next day. You can try to avoid this by cooling yourself properly after the sauna.
From a health point of view, what is the recommended amount of time spent in the sauna?
All sauna use that does not feel good or causes unwanted effects afterwards is excessive. But those who are used to going to the sauna frequently can easily do so as often as every day. In the study published by the University of Eastern Finland, the greatest health effects were observed when the sauna was used 4 to 7 times per week for approximately 20 minutes at a time. Source
I have been diagnosed with high blood pressure. Is it safe for me to use the sauna?
The heat in the sauna accelerates the heart rate and increases the amount of blood pumped through the surface blood vessels in particular. Similarly, the blood vessels expand, which causes blood pressure to decrease. This decrease in blood pressure is temporary and only lasts for a few hours. However, the warming of the tissues apparently releases substances which boost the normal functioning of the arteries and blood vessels. In other words, moderate sauna use can usually be considered to be safe, but as with all matters related to the circulatory system, you should always consult with your own doctor whether sauna use is recommended.
Does sauna use alleviate asthma?
Some people suffering from asthma feel that it is easier for them to breathe in the moist steam, while others do not. It has no effect on the disease itself.
I would like to use the sauna every day, but some say that it dries the skin. Is this true?
On the contrary, going to the sauna is good for your skin. The increase in surface blood flow caused by the heat transports building materials to the skin’s cells, helping them regenerate and remove metabolic wastes more effectively. Healthy and clean skin retains moisture better and stays elastic.Source
Can you cure a cold in the sauna?
Having a cold and a fever means that there are viruses in the blood. For example, exercise is not recommended when sick, as exertion may lead these viruses to cause a serious infection in the heart. And as the effects of sauna use to the heart are similar to the effects of exercise, sauna use is not recommended for someone with a cold. By themselves, a stuffy nose or a sore throat are not usually obstacles to sauna use.
Does going to the sauna help with sleep problems?
In the sauna, the heart rate may increase to up to 150 beats per minute, so sauna goers may not necessarily feel sleepy immediately afterwards. But when the body begins to cool down, hormones are released that make it easier to fall asleep. Studies have also found that sleep may be deeper than normal after sauna use. You can only find the manner of sauna use suitable for you by trying.
Should I go to the sauna after exercising?
Many athletes think that going to the sauna helps to remove lactic acids that have accumulated in the muscles. However, as heat directs blood flow to the surface blood vessels and away from the muscles and organs, sauna use may not be beneficial to muscles in this sense. Nevertheless, you should take advantage of the moments spent in the sauna by stretching your muscles and maintaining your joints’ ranges of motion. It has also been noted that heat therapy performed before exercising may reduce muscle pains caused by the workout. Source